Our European forces landed on Omaha beach in the northern region of France on June 6, 1944 at a time when the outcome of WWII was still in question. The battle for Normandy France lasted 26 days. Many people gloss over what happened in Europe during the second world war but to state it simply, if we had lost the war in Europe, we would have lost America. The liberties and freedom you have today is because thousands of our service members from another generation died saving the America dream.
When you hear politicians, pundits and intellectual neophytes talk about impeachment, collusion, interference, congressional hearings, twitter and Facebook accounts and who is wearing what gown to the Hollywood awards ceremony, just remember that thousands of our soldiers never got the chance to live a full life because they were fighting so we could have one.
When the US Forces landed on Omaha beach that day, there were 12,020 German troops from the 352nd division, many in concrete bunkers, killing as many of our men as possible. To get from the ships to the beach they used Landing Craft Assault (LCA’s) vehicles that were basically flat bottom steel boats with high sides and a drop-down gate in the front. For many of the men, the only thing they could see was the soldiers with them in the boat. They were standing shoulder to shoulder in the LCA’s waiting for it to get to the shore and the gate to drop down. The Germans would wait until the gate dropped and start firing machine guns into the group of soldiers trying to get to shore. Many of our young men died before they even got out of the boats. One boat in particular had 31 men aboard and only seven men made it out of the boat alive.
At the end of that battle, there were 93,000 dead or wounded (American, allied troops, German, French civilians) evacuated. Within a few days, America had taken the beach and within 26 days, they were operational with 11,000 troops, 2,000 vehicles, 9,000 tons of equipment. 100 days later we had 1,000,000 tons of supplies, 100,000 vehicles and 600,000 men in the northern region of France. The battle at Omaha beach turned the tide of the war in Europe. If America and its allied countries had not won that day, we could have potentially lost the free world we know today.
This Thanksgiving as you have dinner with your family and sit around the fireplace, remember to give thanks to all those families that lost their loved ones fighting for us. KT